“We of the global community of spiritual practitioners owe it to each other to dialogue, critique, and deeply listen.”Bruce Alderman
Bruce Alderman, poet, mystic, and spiritual explorer, is also an integral scholar and pioneer of the emerging field of metatheory, looking at how to put our disparate fields of information—spiritual, psychological, philosophical, environmental, scientific—together and integrate them into a useful whole.
Here Bruce tells the tale of how he was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews, how he came to find the value in navigating different spiritual traditions, and how he discovered how to integrate mystical experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, and psychology. Bruce’s unique understanding of interreligious relationships and their potential for meeting current challenges informs his call to the global community of spiritual practitioners to dialogue, critique, deeply listen, and reap the benefits of reflecting back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position. Bruce also shares a brilliant vision of leadership training practices for developing the skills leaders will need to navigate the unfolding global crises of our time. This program will take form in the upcoming Blue Sky Leaders program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Bruce is beautifully eloquent on many levels, sharing insights on intensifying our intimate experience of Being, trusting our dialogue with Being to bear fruit, and finding coherence while holding multiple paths. Bruce describes his turn towards scholarship and academia as “dancing on the subtle plane,” and thinking as one spiritual practice among many—a practice of union. There are so many gems of wisdom here, relayed in Bruce’s gently humorous, humble, and erudite manner. Bruce also inspires on how each of us can become a change agent simply by being integrous with who we are.
Recorded December 6, 2023.
Topics & Timestamps: Part 1
- Introducing spiritual pioneer, polymath, and master of metatheory, Bruce Alderman (01:38)
- How Bruce was drawn into an experiential exploration of different worldviews (04:06)
- Bruce’s first mystical experiences (07:17)
- Traveling in Asia, studying music & meditation, not wanting to have to choose one tradition to the exclusion of others (08:37)
- How to integrate mystical desert experiences, Asian spiritual teachings, and Western education, science, psychology? (11:16)
- Finding the value in navigating different spiritual traditions and coming face to face with the contradictions between them (14:45)
- Practicing more than one path at once can cause anguish, incoherence, and also has distinct benefits, and how some traditions can hold the one and the many at the same time (19:55)
- As A. H. Almaas also came to, the recognition of co-ultimacy of multiple ultimates (22:20)
- Opening oneself to as much as one can: psyche and existence are self-awakening (23:56)
- Hungry for the stories and experiences of humankind and all of their engagements with Being (25:59)
- The concept of generative enclosure: that consciousness is embedded in the environment and embodied in the body—our experience of the world is mediated by our own context (29:47)
- Spiritual practice, focusing our enclosures, can invite an intensification of our own experience of being (31:32)
- Generative (en)closures, bubbles, and magic circles (33:29)
- Language is an enactment of being (34:22)
- Metaphysics tends to look at things with nouns, but what’s coming forward is prepositional modes of being/thinking, intercontextuality, and adverbial thinking—recognizing that being unfolds in different ways at different times (35:34)
- With/in (with, in, and within) a holographic, nondual recognition, the world is in you and you are in the world, I am with you, you are in me, I am in you (37:46)
- We of the global community of spiritual practitioners owe it to each other to dialogue, critique, and deeply listen (41:33)
- There’s no one final point: we call the idea of an ultimate holon the ass holon (44:26)
- Leadership: we can each become agents of transformation, healing, and insight by being integrous with who we are (46:25)
- The Blue Sky Leaders program is designed around the question, How do we navigate the deep challenges of our time? (47:29)
- Different styles of leadership: emperor or servant-based (50:36)
- Ryan Nakade’s platinum man model: making it a practice to be able to reflect back to the other a view that takes them deeper in their understanding of their own position (52:24)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
- The wild knot as symbol for a human being or culture: we are threads of a relationship that don’t have a final terminus (00:53)
- The challenges of our time and the need for entangled deep listening (01:59)
- A leadership training program that includes ongoing contemplative inquiry & practice, and also looks at cultural, political, ecological & spiritual dynamics and new cosmologies (02:26)
- Hyperobjects: you can’t see climate change, economic collapse, or evolution from a local point of view—it demands collective vision to perceive and apprehend it (04:13)
- Bruce’s vision for leadership development and the Blue Sky Leaders program empower people to serve in the great issues of our time (06:13)
- The bodhisattva ideal is both empowering and self-canceling (10:07)
- The metaphor of light, salt, and leaven for anyone wanting to be a change agent and serve the flourishing of life (13:23)
- Krishnamurti’s idea of “living in learning” and a program that is “deliberately developmental” (16:42)
- What are the specific practices essential for cultivating leaders to navigate the crises that are unfolding? (22:00)
- We evolved to be optimally functional on a much smaller level—without proper grounding, facing world problems can cause existential crisis (26:13)
- Holding a loving center, living and learning together (28:28)
- Back to interreligious practice: how interfaith dialogues and encounters have typically been handled: exclusivist, inclusivist, pluralist (33:24)
- In making room for multiple paths of spiritual practice, there is a danger of moving into instrumentalism, thinking practices are mere recipes (36:31)
- The grit to do the practices and the humility of opening to grace (39:36)
- What are Bruce’s practices today? (40:21)
- Bruce’s TSK practice (attuning to time/space/knowledge) that leads him to deep integration (41:35)
- Nonfinality: how each awakening leads to yet another, sacred secularity (45:35)
- How did Bruce enter into his exquisite scholarship? Philosophy and academic work is just another way to dance on the subtle plane (49:41)
Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos
Image by Bruce Alderman
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About Bruce Alderman
Bruce Alderman, MA, is an affiliate faculty at John F. Kennedy University in the Consciousness and Transformative Studies and Holistic Counseling Psychology departments. After years of moderating several integral discussion forums of his own, including Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality and Integral Scholarship and Practice, he is venturing into production of integral video content himself.
About John Dupuy
John Dupuy is co-founder and CEO of iAwake Technologies, a company that creates cutting-edge, high-tech brainwave entrainment soundtracks that support the healing of emotional/shadow issues, deepen meditation, mental focus, creativity, and flow states, and enhance a daily integral transformative practice. John has been working personally and professionally with brainwave entrainment technology since 2004, and travels internationally to teach and inspire on the subjects of Integral Transformative Practice and Integral Recovery®. John is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Award, and co-host of the popular Journey of Integral Recovery podcast. John also hosts the online series Spiritual Tech Talks 2.0, in which he converses with leaders, pioneers, and inventors on the current wave of emerging spiritual technologies.
About Roger Walsh
Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., has spent nearly a quarter century researching and practicing in the world's great spiritual traditions. His critically acclaimed book, Essential Spirituality, is a summary of that wisdom, outlining the seven spiritual practices common to the world's major religions.